Almighty Khetep, First of the Septumvirat, Conqueror of the Vile Disani, Scion of the Zandjan

Khetep had not set foot in these lands for over a millennium. Despite the time elapsed, the memories were still strong, still bitter. His forces had been unbound by the magics of the Empire. That would not happen again. His Lich Priests had been working ceaselessly to create new wards, new protections to keep his glorious undead whole. He turned his gaze to the marching throng. They were implacable. They were unrelenting. The would bring him victory and these lands would finally be here.

On Tuesday Phil and I managed to play a couple of in person games! It was quite fantastic. We decided to play Warmaster, a game that’s not that easy to play online. I completed my Undead army as a lockdown project and Phil was able to grab his Empire army from his family home. We decide for the first game we’d play a straight up 2000pts battle…

The Battle of Gresmire Plain

Captain Heinz of the Imperial Reikland army collapsed his telescope, handing it wordlessly to his aide. Reports from afar had said the Khemrian undead were more active, but they had not ventured this far north in a long time. There was disquiet amongst the ranks. Heinz knew its source. Facing greenskins or elves meant facing something with life. At least there was a shared fear, albeit seemingly slight in the case of the greenskins, of losing that life. The undead had already lost what life they had. They had no fear. More than that, in each shambling undead monstrosity the soldiers saw a possible future. Should they fall, a life of unending servitude might await them. Heinz allowed himself that dark thought and then cast it aside. They were an enemy, nothing more, nothing less, and like all enemies of Reikland they would be destroyed.

Phil’s army significantly outnumbered mine as I had a few costly item, such as the Zombie Dragon, Bone Giant and Sphinx in my ranks. This meant his break point was 13 to my 11. I had no major grand plan as I wasn’t too familiar with the rules. On the right my Zombie Dragon accompanied two units of Carrion to harry the enemy’s backfield. The Skullchukkas also paired up to disrupt anything that started to move down that flank or through the middle. My centre advanced quite coherently, while some of my more mobile assets, Cavalry and Chariots, on the left flank made some gains.

Things continued to go my way, with my Command checks mostly succeeding. On the right I brought up some fast elements to hit the Pistoliers and Crossbowmen there. The Empire hit them with some Halberdiers, but the floor troops inability to pursue the fast units limited meant they couldn’t capitalise on their initial success. My fast units hit hard and that flank became a source of real trouble for the Empire.

The Doom and Despair spell was a strong feature of my Undead gameplay. This prevented key units from the Empire from charging.

Meanwhile my centre continued to perform well, again with support from fast units, albeit a little more fragmented. My monsters were an exception to my good command performance. They stalled and then a blundered command caused the cavalry brigaded with them to fall back! This ended up being a blessing, as they regrouped and later charged some knights who’d swung around my flank.

The Empire casualties continued to climb until they reached breaking point. The Undead and Almighty Khetep were victorious.

The Battle for Hoch Hill

We used the Battle for Nob Hill (p.81) scenario for this game, reckoning that Captain Heinz and his forces would have to send messengers for reinforcements, retreat to a defensive position and await their arrival. Phil could place half of his 2000pt army in reinforcements, with the remainder left to hold out for as long as possible on Hoch Hill.

I’m thought this would be a relatively easy prospect for the attacking forces, but attacking up a hill negates many of the charging unit’s advantages. The rise of the hill counts as being defended, so attackers hit on 5+. Moreover, since it’s not ‘open ground’, the attackers lose attacks on the charge.

Hoch Hill is pretty large, so much so that the Empire could only really cover 2/3 of its perimeter. With crossbowmen front and halberdiers supporting, the Empire formed their defensive line. Cannons on a mound backed them up and a hellblaster was in place to deal with any unexpected breakthroughs.

My plan was pretty straightforward. Hit the defending infantry units hard with my cavalry and chariots, and hope I could whittle them down sufficiently to force a breakthrough. I also used my Carrion and Zombie Dragon to attack the vulnerable cannons and hellblaster.

This strategy worked quite well, but my force was becoming somewhat fragmented as brigades fell back from combat into smaller units. I had to hope that I could get them organised before the Empire reinforcements arrived.

I began to have some success, with the crossbowmen units slowly crumbling, despite the support of the halberdiers. My Tomb King joined the fray, working to unseat the left side of the hill. Meanwhile my second wave units positioned for another push. Thankfully the Empire reinforcements were nowhere to be seen… the messengers must have gotten lost.

A brigade of cavalry and monsters finally managed to break onto the hill and push the defenders back from their ridge. This spelled the end of the Empire forces.

Almighty Khetep, First of the Septumvirat, Conqueror of the Vile Disani, Scion of the Zandjan stood atop the hill he and his forces had fought over. The remaining Empire forces were fleeing the field. A foothold had been established, not only in this corner of the Empire, but into the living. Already the Empire fallen were rising to join his ranks. Khetep’s forces would grow to be an unstoppable tide that would wash across the Empire of the living.

The were two excellent games. The Undead are a strange army as the break many of the game rules. Ignoring Confusion, for example, is a big deal. The flip side is that they are Command hungry with the lack of initiative. I thoroughly enjoyed these games, which have been a long time in the making! I started painting my undead 13 years ago and this was the first time they say the tabletop against an opponent. Phil left his Empire troops with me for safekeeping, so there is a good chance there will be more games of Warmaster in my future.

Until next time,